Seems like only yesterday that John McCain was declaring the economy fundamentally sound and ker-woot! Well it's not so sound, now is it?

I've spent quite a bit of time and real estate on this blog in recent weeks talking about what this means to start-ups and small to midsize businesses operating on a shoestring.

Top of my list: don't count on VC money for your next round of funding.

Here's proof, I'm not all wet.

The National Venture Capitol Association has just put out its third quarter figures for VC money raised in 2008 versus the same time period a year ago. Ouch! It's down 29%.

Don't expect it to get any better, any time soon.

"The third quarter fundraising statistics reflect the already anticipated trend that is likely to be pervasive in the coming year — fewer firms raising larger funds," - Mark Heesen, President of the NVCA.

Best advice: Slow down your burn rate or risk flaming out before you get your business off the ground. This is where exploring new technologies can be your friend. IT is likely a big line item in the company budget where serious bucks can be saved.

Think cloud computing, software as a service, farming out data storage to an off-site vendor. Virtualize those servers and consider hiring one of those companies to tease out all the fat in your telco bills.